Cape Town - New Zealand police wasted time and money investigating his euthanasia case, University of the Western Cape Prof Sean Davison said on Thursday.
He said the “nanny state” wasted no time in throwing police onto his case after it was revealed in his book that he helped his cancer-stricken mother end her life in 2006, by dosing her with morphine.
“Along comes someone who is a mercy killer. Now they've got a real issue to deal with... and boy, did they deal with it,” he said at a Cape Town Press Club lunch in Newlands.
Davison's book, “Before We Say Goodbye”, was published in 2009
and did not include a chapter on the morphine overdose. The secret chapter was leaked and he was arrested and charged with attempted murder in 2010.
Police interviewed every character in the book. They even wanted to interview three fictional characters, not realising they were made up.
“They needed one person to say that I told them I'd help my mother to die. The police made one very big mistake at the beginning. They didn't ask me.”
The professor estimated that about R4 million was “wasted” on police investigations. He handed over R300,000 for his defence lawyer.
Davison ended up pleading guilty to assisted suicide in the Dunedin High Court last year.
He was sentenced to five months home detention, in which he had to wear an electronic tracking device on his ankle and obey strict instructions from probation officers.
In that time he received two verbal warnings and a written one. His offences were not answering the phone and arriving five minutes late from the doctor.
The third warning was for practising on an elliptical cross-trainer that interrupted the signal of his tracking device.
He said he contemplated going to jail after that as he was sick and tired of the restrictions and wanted to embarrass the New Zealand government further.
Davison said he was continuing efforts to bring a draft euthanasia bill before Parliament and would approach politicians in the next few months.
His organisation DignitySA was petitioning support on its website.
He said he had received considerate support from the legal profession.
“The difficulty has been getting the medical fraternity to speak out... mostly because they signed the Hippocratic Oath.”
“Many doctors have said to me privately that they've helped people to die... at their request. It's the choice of the doctor 1/8though 3/8... and they have to do it behind the scenes illegally.”
With no choice whether to die or not, critically ill patients had to rely on the graciousness of their doctor.
“If you don't have a law change, you might be playing Lotto with your doctor.”
Ethics Institute of SA CEO Prof Willem Landman had drafted a position paper on euthanasia for the organisation.
In it, he said the key question was whether legalising assisted death would be consistent with the bill of rights in the Constitution.
He concluded that a South African had constitutional rights consistent with the moral right to a peaceful and dignified death.
There was a need for a comprehensive bill that would clarify the legal position on not only assisted dying but also terminal pain management, the withholding and withdrawing of potentially life-sustaining treatment and living wills. - Sapa